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13 of the best jokes and one-liners ever told at the Edinburgh Fringe

TV channel Dave has been valiantly trying to determine the best joke at the Fringe for over a decade. Here is the 2023 winner – and all of the rest

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski

What is the ‘best joke of the Edinburgh Fringe’? How does one determine such a thing? It’s a herculean and even quite existentially challenging task, but beloved TV channel Dave has been giving it a shot for some years now with its annual competition, Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe. 

This year, Lorna Rose Treen took home the prize with her gag about an unfaithful zookeeper. The competition shortlist was drawn up by a panel of comedy critics, before members of the public were asked to pick their three favourite jokes. 
It turns out Dave audiences basically like zingers, one-liners and snappy puns: there isn’t much overlap between this award and the much more progressive main comedy awards. The award made a return in 2022 after being off for two years because of the pandemic.

Comedian Lorna Rose Treen’s one-liner was ranked one of the best by 44 percent of those surveyed. She’s the first female comedian to win the award since Zoe Lyons scooped up the very first one in 2008. Treen said she was ‘blooming chuffed’ with the result: ‘A huge thank you for awarding my stupid joke with this title!’

Liz Guterbock took second place with 41 percent of the 2023 vote, with her joke: ‘The most British thing I’ve ever heard? A lady who said ‘‘Well I’m sorry, but I don’t apologise’’.’

Keen to hear her winning joke? Check it out below, along with all of the winners. 

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The best jokes and one-liners ever told at the Edinburgh Fringe

2023 – Lorna Rose Treen 

‘I started dating a zookeeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah.’

2022 – Masai Graham

‘I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta.’

2019 – Olaf Falafel

‘I keep randomly shouting out “Broccoli” and “Cauliflower” – I think I might have Florets.’

2018 – Adam Rowe

‘Working at the job centre has to be a tense job: knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day.’

2017 – Ken Cheng

‘I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.’

2016 – Masai Graham

‘My dad has suggested that I register for a donor card. He’s a man after my own heart.’

2015 – Tommy Tiernan

‘Two flies are playing football in a saucer. One says to the other: “Make an effort, we’re playing in the cup tomorrow.”’

2014 – Tim Vine

‘I’ve decided to sell my Hoover… well, it was just collecting dust.’

2013 – Rob Auton

‘I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa.’

2012 – Stewart Francis

‘You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.’

2011 – Nick Helm

‘I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.’

2010 – Tim Vine

‘I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.’

2009 – Dan Antopolski

‘Hedgehogs – why can’t they just share the hedge?’ 


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